What is Injury Prevention?
A simple question but the answer may change the way you work out! A safe workout routine should consist of the following 3 components, the warm-up, the workout, and the cool-down. In a perfect training world, you would incorporate injury prevention strategies into all three components, but the problem is, many people do not even do a warm-up or a cool-down!
How much time do you spend on a workout, maybe 45 minutes, an hour? How much time do you spend loosening up the muscles beforehand with dynamic movements or stretching out afterwards? Do you spend any time doing specific exercises to help the joints and muscles you overuse the most? If you’re like most of the people I know at the gym, the answer is ZERO minutes.
I understand, I used to be like that too. If I only had 45 minutes at the gym, I would squeeze in another set or stay on the elliptical until the last possible second I had before I was going to make myself late for work. I would jump off the machine and jump right in the shower and get on with my day.
The problem with that though – it’s a short term gain, long term loss. It feels good to workout until that last possible second, but without proper cool-downs and stretching after a workout, over time your muscles will develop imbalances. It will start with “tight” feeling muscles, and on the inside that you can’t see, knots in the muscles are getting bigger and bigger, eventually preventing the muscles from being able to go through their natural range of motion, which affects the proper alignment of your muscles which in turn puts stress on the joints. Before you know it you have achy knees and a tight upper back and dreading your workouts because they hurt. FYI workouts should never give you bad pain, only the good pain! Bad pain is joints, good pain is muscles burning because you are challenging yourself to try harder.